2nd batch of AHEAD-HPSR Fellowship and Internship Program graduates

Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) fellows and interns under the 2018-2020 Department of Health-Advancing Health through Evidence Assisted Decisions (DOH-AHEAD) Health Policy Systems Research Fellowship and Internship Program graduated last September 30, 2020 in a recognition ceremony held online.

The DOH-AHEAD HPSR Fellowship and Internship Program is an initiative of the Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), that responds to the increased demand for evidence-informed policies and programs in the health sector. It engages professionals both in health and non-health fields in a two-year fellowship and internship with selected DOH offices.

Designed to help HPSR fellows and interns gain firsthand experience in health systems and policy making, OIC-Director of the Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau (HPDPB) of the DOH Dir. Francis Rose Elgo-Mamaril expounded on the objectives of the program saying , “The overarching goal was to develop the next generation of researchers and policymakers to bridge the shortfall in the capacity of research and policy in the health sector.”

In light of the many healthcare gaps and issues that the health sector is striving to address, DOH Assistant Secretary of Health-Health Policy and Systems Development Team Dr. Kenneth Ronquillo stressed the responsibilities of the graduates in contributing to the creation of progressive health solutions for all. “The public health sector and the communities are in need of skilled and devoted young professionals,” he said in his address to the graduates.

Currently, the DOH along with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is gearing for the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Law which aims to provide equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare to every Filipino.

Representing this batch of HPSR fellows and interns, Gabrielle Anne Gabaton called on the youth to contribute to the realization of universal healthcare. “There is much to be done and much we can contribute to public health no matter what our background is,” she said, emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary research in building robust health policies and systems. 

The DOST-PCHRD, through its Executive Director Jaime Montoya, expressed the Council’s commitment to support the program and its objectives. “May this fellowship program continue to be an avenue of learning for researchers and for the attainment of health policy systems and research goals,” he said.